Democracy Disrupted: The Politics of Global Protest

Overview

Since the financial meltdown of 2008, political protests have spread around the world like chain lightning, from the "Occupy" movements of the United States, Great Britain, and Spain to more destabilizing forms of unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, Russia, Thailand, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Ukraine. In Democracy Disrupted: The Politics of Global Protest, commentator and political scientist Ivan Krastev proposes a provocative interpretation of these popular uprisings—one with ominous ...

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Democracy Disrupted: The Politics of Global Protest

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Overview

Since the financial meltdown of 2008, political protests have spread around the world like chain lightning, from the "Occupy" movements of the United States, Great Britain, and Spain to more destabilizing forms of unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, Russia, Thailand, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Ukraine. In Democracy Disrupted: The Politics of Global Protest, commentator and political scientist Ivan Krastev proposes a provocative interpretation of these popular uprisings—one with ominous implications for the future of democratic politics.

Challenging theories that trace the protests to the rise of a global middle class, Krastev proposes that the insurrections express a pervasive distrust of democratic institutions. Protesters on the streets of Moscow, Sofia, Istanbul, and São Paulo are openly suspicious of both the market and the state. They reject established political parties, question the motives of the mainstream media, refuse to recognize the legitimacy of any specific leadership, and reject all formal organizations. They have made clear what they don't want—the status quo—but they have no positive vision of an alternative future.

Welcome to the worldwide libertarian revolution, in which democracy is endlessly disrupted to no end beyond the disruption itself.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Few people can question the conventional wisdom of democracy like Ivan Krastev. Democracy Disrupted is his latest and most interesting intervention."—George Soros

"The worldwide protests of 2011-2013 may have happened 'everywhere,' but did they go anywhere? Ivan Krastev argues persuasively that this was ultimately a revolution that wasn't."—Timothy Garton Ash, University of Oxford

"A must read."—Moisés Naím, Carnegie Endowment and author of The End of Power

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812223309
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/31/2014
  • Pages: 88
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Ivan Krastev is Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Bulgaria and author of In Mistrust We Trust: Can Democracy Survive When We Don't Trust Our Leaders?

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Read an Excerpt

From the Introduction

The desire to make sense of the present is what guided me in writing this little book on protests and democracy. It is not a book about any particular protest, although the protests in Bulgaria inspired me to undertake this adventure, and protests in Russia, Turkey, and Thailand are central to my argument. The book does not attempt to venture an overarching theory of the protests or to conceptualize the new protest experience. It is not a book by somebody who was really there or even dreamt of participating in the events it describes. It does not strive to classify the protests or to figure out how to judge their success or failure. Its aim is more modest: to capture the meaning of the events, to reflect on the complex relationship between mass protests and democracy, and to analyze how mass protests are transforming democracy.

In the three short years between Occupy Wall Street and Vladimir Putin's "Occupy Crimea," we witnessed an explosion of protests all around the world—the Arab Spring, Russian Winter, Turkish Summer, and the dismembering of Ukraine all were part of the protest moment. Each of these demonstrations—and many less monumental ones—was angry in its own way, but the protests are also a worldwide phenomenon. Do they signal a radical change in the way politics will be practiced? Or are they simply a spectacular but ultimately insignificant eruption of public anger? Is it the technology, the economics, the mass psychology, or just the zeitgeist that has caused this global explosion of revolt? Do the protests prove the technologically amplified power of citizens? Or, alternatively, do they mark the decline of the political influence of the middle class and its growing discontent with democracy? Will it be the empowering energy of the protests or the conservative backlash against them that will shape the future of democratic politics?

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Chapter 1: Protest against Politics
Chapter 2: The Democracy of Rejection
Chapter 3: Exit Politics

Acknowledgments
Notes

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